Dragon Boat Chairman
Dragon Boating is believed to have started 2500 years ago in China. One common folklore is that dragon boating came into existence because of the drowning of Qu Yuan. According to folklore, Qu Yuan', a Chinese poet, apparently went into the Miluo River with the intent of committing suicide in order to protest against political corruption. When the people heard of Qu Yuan's suicide, they rushed out on to the river in their fishing boats and tried to save Qu Yuan. They beat their drums and splashed the water with paddles to keep the fish and evil spirits away from Yuan's body. The folklore goes on to state that dragon boat races are held annually on the day of Qu Yuan's death.

The more credible story is that dragon boating coincides with the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar calendar (May-June). This festival is called "Duan Wu" (summer solstice). The sun and the dragon are most powerful at this time of year, so the Chinese people pay homage to this through ritual celebrations such as dragon boat racing. This time of year is considered to be evil due to the fact that there is a greater occurrence of pestilence and disease. Some people cut out shapes of the five venomous animals and place them in the mouths of the carved dragons to ward off evil. Today many dragon boat races are still associated with the Duan Wu Festival in China (or Tueng Ng Festival in Hong Kong).

As for the appearance of dragon boats in history, there are long paddled boats depicted on ancient Dong Son drums in southern China and Vietnam and similar watercraft are shown in carvings found in Angor Wat, Cambodia.

(Source: Wikipedia)